Massimo De Carlo London presents the most comprehensive survey of drawings by the American artist Kaari Upson, with a selection of works that span from 2012 to 2018.
In her practice, Upson has investigated and reflected upon the notions of property and displacement, voyeurism and exhibitionism.
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Kaari Upson defines her graphite drawings as the beginning, middle and end of her practice: they are a continual and on-going part of her practice and they consistently chart the artists’ movement across different bodies of work. What at first glance can appear as a series of drawings that narrate the personal, inner thoughts of the artist, as if embodying an intuitive stream of consciousness is actually the result of years – up to eight years for some of the drawings in the show – of research, systematic observation, formulation, and creating. Each drawing is a mental map that functions as a work surface that frames concrete information that Kaari Upson needs to lead her to create videos, installations or sculptures.
The drawings are all composed by different sets of images, references, and text. The initial stage of creating these works is an archival process where Kaari Upson gathers material from different sources, like her on-going image bank, whilst at the same time the artist creates, in the unobtrusiveness of her own home, small lap drawings where spontaneous and fast thoughts and image sketches are allowed to go on paper, creating hypothetical anticipations of the large-scale works.
All this material is then converted through a lengthy and thorough edit: a mediated, rhythmical, gesture that controls the context and concept of each drawing. The images, for instance, are downloaded, printed, and then projected onto the paper; the drawings themselves are flipped around many times according to what is more comfortable for the artist: texts, thoughts and images are continuously processed and implemented.
Alongside is a selection of small-scale drawings: each is a different portrait.
Kaari Upson was born in San Bernardino, California, in 1972 and lives in Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions include: Good Thing You Are Not Alone, New Museum, New York, USA (2017); The Los Angeles Project, UCCA, Beijing, China (2014); Hammer Projects, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2007). Group shows include: Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, USA (2017); A Good Neighbour, 15th Istanbul Biennial, curated by Elmgreen & Dragset, Istanbul foundation for culture and arts, Istanbul, TR (2017); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2017); Material Concerns and Current Practices, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York, USA (2017); Sleepless: The Bed in History and Contemporary Art, 21er Haus, Vienna, Austria (2015); Second Chances, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2015); Procession, CAPC Musèe d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2014).Installation views: Todd-White Art Photography. Courtesy Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong